7 Ways To Improve Your Dealership’s Banner Ad Performance
Exactly 25 years have passed since the first-ever banner ad was posted¹. It was 1994, the internet was a new thing and people were not familiar with online advertising, which explains why it had an outstanding click-through rate of 44%, something almost unimaginable these days.
Fast-forward to 2019, we now have a wide variety of online advertising placements to choose from, including search engines, social media platforms, mobile apps, email, and so on. The possibilities are countless, but at the same time we have to deal with massive competition for these spaces, the decreasing attention span in humans², increasing blindness to banner ads³ and the growing popularity of ad-blocks⁴.
In this article, we will discuss the 7 things you should do to ensure your dealerships’ marketing dollars are being used wisely. Making sure that every word, color, and image are being taken into account and that your banner ads are being read, remembered and acted upon.
1. Less is More
When it comes to dealership banner ads, making it simple might feel counterintuitive, but simple design is easier to understand. It communicates the message more clearly and effectively, and research has shown that it’s more likely to achieve better results.
Simplicity also gives your ads a luxury feel and a level of elegance that cannot be achieved with a busy and text-heavy design.
Design-wise, the main goal of your banner ads should be to minimize the information in a way that is dense and accurate, so your target audience can absorb it quickly.
Examples of banner ads found online.
Above you can see two examples of ads that opted for a busy and information-heavy design. Below are examples of banner ads that adopted simplicity and are not only much easier to absorb but succeeded in achieving high click-through rates and outperformed ads with busy designs that were ran previously.
2. Trimming the Diamond
Clarity, not to be mistaken for simplicity, is more like an extension of it, and it’s responsible for adding an additional level of focus and meaning to your banner ads.
In other words, it’s through simplicity that you get people to see your ad and it’s through clarity that you get people to understand it.
Once you have achieved the desired level of simplicity in your ad, it’s time to enhance what is already there by making sure that your statement is meaningful, your offer is succinct, the images you’re using are impactful, and your call-to-action is enticing.
Take a look at the two examples above. The one on the left is simple, pleasant to the eye and easy to read, but it fails in clarifying the offer and convincing the audience to click on it. The example on the right side, on the other hand, is clear, concise and objective, and is able to deliver the message and persuade the audience in no more than a couple of seconds.
3. Timing is Key
Research has shown⁵ that people spend on average five seconds on a website before deciding to move to the next one. You read that right, five seconds!
Now imagine that a person is navigating a website that was able to capture their attention for longer than that, and your banner ad is somewhere on this site.
You did a great job, your ad is visually simple and clear, and your design was able to catch the visitor’s eye. You now have only three seconds to convince this person to act. This is the average time people take to make a decision⁶ on whether or not they will click through.
This is where being concise comes in.
When writing an offer to be used on a banner ad, you need to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. If you had no intention of buying a new car or were in the initial/uncommitted stage of purchase, and you came across that banner, how much time would it take you to read everything? Would you actually read it?
A banner ad should be the advertising piece responsible for taking people to your dealership’s website, and the website should be where people can find all the additional details about the offer.
Next time you’re adapting your offer to a banner ad, aim for conciseness. The results will be impressive.
4. Stand Out!
The online advertising space is very competitive. Your banner ads are fighting with hundreds of others to get a chance to be shown and, more importantly, be seen. When they finally get it, you need to make sure that it will be noticed by the viewer.
Many people understand that as a need to create flashy and intrusive ads, which in fact, is the reason why the interest in ad-blocks has increased⁷ in the past couple of years.
Examples of banner ads found online that tried to stand out in the wrong way.
Remember, people don’t browse websites looking for ads, they do it to read the news, learn about a subject, get a recipe, play games, etc.
Your mission is to attract their attention while they are doing these things, and the best way to do it is by being distinct from most ads that they’ve recently come across.
That can be achieved by applying design techniques such as negative space, contrasting colours, hierarchy, and symmetry. Animating certain elements, having a clear focal point and making intelligent use of images, textures, and overlays are also great ways to make your banner ads stand out.
The banner ads above are excellent examples of the application of these design techniques while respecting the OEM brand guidelines that are set for colours, typography, and images.
5. Convince People to Click
This is perhaps the most difficult aspect of creating an ad, therefore not many people understand how to use banner ads to compel action.
It could seem logical to a dealership that their current promotion is an incredible deal, a never-seen discount that people will be extremely interested in and more than likely to click on the banner ad featuring it.
Reality is, people don’t make decisions based on logic alone. They are driven by emotion and if your banner ad fails to trigger an emotional response from them, it’s very unlikely that it will drive any action.
Example of banner ad that is text-heavy
Emotions can be triggered in different ways, it could be through text, images or colours.
A headline should be responsible for grabbing people’s attention and encouraging them to read further. That could be accomplished by applying principles such as scarcity (i.e. “Year-End Clearout”) and authority (i.e. “SUV of the Year”), among others.
The body copy of a banner ad has the role of convincing people, either by reinforcing the headline or complementing it.
And the call-to-action is the cherry on the cake that should be the catalyst to get the viewers to click on your banner ad. Instead of the standard “Learn More”, feel free to try something different like “Don’t Miss It!” or add a personal touch to it, as in “Tell Me More!”.
When choosing images, the best ones to drive emotion are the ones that show people next to the vehicle or driving it, or lifestyle shots that portray speed, adventure or luxury.
And last but not least, the colours used in the headline and especially in the call-to-action, can make a significant difference in driving clicks, but always make sure to follow the OEM brand guidelines and use the colour that stands the most in contrast with the other banner ad elements.
6. Not All Elements Are Equal
A banner ad consists of five basic elements, logo, headline, value proposition/offer, images, and call-to-action.
Respecting the hierarchy between them is of utmost importance to guarantee that your message is delivered clearly and the desired action is taken by the viewer.
Always have in mind that banner ads are read from left to right and top to bottom, so the emphasis should be on the elements that are first seen. A compelling headline and body text can be worthless if the wrong words are emphasized or if other elements are more predominant.
Your dealership logo, as well as the OEM brand logo, should play a supporting role, being smaller than the headline (promotion title) and images, but almost in the same proportion as the call-to-action.
Below is a comparison between a perfect example of a respectful hierarchy (right) and a banner ad that gets its message lost due to a lack of hierarchy (left).
7. Get Remembered
Although this article has been focused on delivering the message properly and effectively, and in driving more clicks to your dealership’s banner ads, it wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the key to successful advertising: consistency.
It would be of no value if you applied all the previously mentioned principles and techniques, and had a new campaign running every month with a completely different message, look and feel.
To build awareness, trust, and recognition, your dealership should think in the long term, both in terms of design — utilizing the same colours, image style and typefaces – and in terms of the message — keeping it coherent across all advertising vehicles for months on end. Having your banner ads appearing in a consistent way in front of consumers helps to keep your brand present in their minds.
They might not be ready to purchase a car today, but they will definitely remember and consider your dealership when the right time comes.
See the examples below, they show four different ads from the same dealership, which is refreshed every month, but stays consistent throughout the year.
Finding the perfect balance between all things mentioned in this article is not an easy task. It requires practice, an eye for detail, understanding the consumers’ minds and their online behaviour.
Whether you have an internal marketing team or an outsourced provider, it’s important to give them a clear direction in terms of campaign objectives, and especially the flexibility to make adjustments to design and text when deemed necessary.
At EDealer, we work closely with dealerships to provide the best possible designs, tangible results and return on their advertising investment, while respecting all manufacturers guidelines and without compromising turnaround times.
Interested in learning more about our services? Feel welcome to contact us today and we will be happy to answer all the questions you might have.
¹ First Ever Banner Ad on the Web
² Attention Spans Goldfish
³ Banner Blindness
⁴ Better Ad Standards
⁵ Web Performance Impacts Conversion Rates
⁶ Maximize Your Display Advertising
⁷ Global Ad Blocking Behavior